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Friday, March 13, 2020 

Kurt Busiek justifies excessive politics in storytelling

The India-based entertainment site Meaww compiled the text of some recent Twitter comments by the sadly lost-his-way Busiek, who, though not clearly mentioned here, believes leftist writers should maintain their politics in storytelling, because otherwise, their stories will supposedly become bland. Their article says:
To say that Kurt Busiek is a comics legend would be an understatement. The 59-year-old writer has worked with almost every publisher in the business and he has been responsible for some of the most beloved books in the graphic medium including 'Marvels' and 'Astro City'.
Yes, but how much has he done in the past decade? Outside of creator-owned writings like Astro City and Arrowsmith, his work of recent for the majors has been minor. And his now stridently leftist politics - to say nothing of a potential self-rejection of his past work on superhero books - is why he may not be viewed as much of a legend lately. I know he recently returned to Marvel to script another followup to his Marvels miniseries, but who knows if it'll work well this time? A few years ago, I read a 2008 sequel to the 1994's Marvels called Eye of the Camera, where reporter Phil Sheldon passed away at the end, and if there was something I'd noticed there, although Mary Jane Watson did make a minor appearance, nothing seemed to come up about hers and Peter Parker's marriage, and the story itself stopped circa the year 1987, presumably just prior to such events. I vaguely recall Busiek stating he wasn't a fan of the marriage, gallingly enough, and I suspect that bias played into the crafting of the Marvels sequel, which did come out shortly after One More Day.

Here's the posts themselves, where he can only think to justify what he doesn't have the courage to call leftism, at all costs:

So all those 50-plus stores closing in the past few years isn't nonsense? The man must be living in a bubble deliberately. Even if some stores are opening, it's not enough to replace those closing, and besides, when a store closes, it is a loss. Also, how come Busiek isn't laying out sales figures here, or acknowledging less than a million copies sold is not a cause for celebration? All he seems to care about is an excuse to attack the Comicsgate campaign for the umpteenth time.

Does he mean the time when Superman rejected his US citizenship in 2011? Or when Captain America stood with Hydra in 2016? Those weren't exactly blockbuster successes, yet they do contradict what Busiek's trying to convince us all about.

And here's where the bias becomes clear. Busiek despises OMM's objections to glorification of homosexuality so much, he's decided to use them as an example...but he won't say whether it's good when you piss off Communism, Islamism and LGBT advocates, or even leftists dominating universities, news reporters not unlike J. Jonah Jameson, Antifa and Planned Parenthood. If it's only right-leaning sources like OMM he considers worth offending, you know what kind of politics he's really representing (what if he really thinks it's okay to offend women, since OMM is a mainly lady-led outfit?). Let's remember what this man was supporting a few years ago, before liberals themselves realized it wasn't working out for them, and all but withdrew their position.

Graphic violence in entertainment is another problem bringing down entertainment everywhere, but unlike female sexuality, propagandists consider jarring mayhem acceptable and deserving of a free pass. That's why, if you haven't seen alleged professionals talk about how widespread violence has become in showbiz, you may not see them discuss it tomorrow either.

So be it, but why not identify specifically what audience you seek? If you want a leftist audience, just say so. At least then, you'll be providing some clarification. And if you think it was entirely justified for Steve Rogers to join an outfit similar to nazis and call out "hail Hydra", then you might as well come clean and say so there too. What we'd be much happier about is if they'd consider the more subtle approach used by earlier writers, who usually just made their points simple and left it at that, without going to extremes to say family and parenthood is inherently evil, or whitewash Islamic terrorism and Communism, and even denigrate capitalism, even as the same SJWs who uphold socialism continue to make use of capitalism to push their propaganda.

Busiek's not the only one, by the way, who's taking a rose-colored view of the business. Even Ron Marz appears to be influenced by his flawed approach:

I don't like how he's claiming there's those who want to throw rocks at everyone, even if, unlike Busiek, he didn't resort to scapegoating Comicsgate, which would be doing just what he's talking about - grievance-mongering. It's superfluous, and doesn't improve the discussion. But, let's continue to see what else he wrote:

Sure, there are a lot more choices, but depending which ones we're talking about, not all are suitable for children. Some contain LGBT propaganda, and IDW's adaptations of Jem & the Holograms, for example, contained some of this, while Brian Bendis' retcon of Iceman is self-evident. The main reason sensible parents and anyone else find it objectionable is because it's being depicted in an otherwise positive light, with no questions allowed whether it's a poor example. If children's fare cannot be done without practically mandating such ideas, then there's no proper choice being allowed in what to choose. When some people responded, Marz's reaction to one was:

Whether it's monthly issues or trade paperback/hardcovers, what matters is that individual products in this medium are selling far below a million copies, and that makes it a joke. The worst part is that, no matter how remarkable classic creations were decades before, even they didn't all print and sell more than a million, and when you look at the results from a realist POV, it's just sad when you realize the industry's never been as huge and prosperous as some would like you to believe. Above all, it attests to an epic failure of industrialists to build up the medium into a higher selling business, without resorting to easy gimmicks like expanding into merchandise and filmmaking, which haven't led to higher sales either.

Of course DC/Marvel aren't all there is. But it's not like the rest of the industry is doing any better in their approach to sales, and if Image or IDW are pushing far-left politics into their books, that only discourages a wider audience from applying. Something Marz doesn't seem interested in acknowledging.

It's not that nobody's reading them. It's that too few are to justify their existence, and the YA segment is so flooded with horrific bias, there's little reason for anybody writing novels to market under that label. Not that you could expect Marz to admit it, though. He's too busy lambasting right-leaning politicians like Donald Trump, as usual:

NPR smears, and Marz parrots, with no gratitude to Trump for doing what's necessary to cut down on the Coronavirus cases. Nor does he care about the overseas negligence that led to this whole outbreak. Busiek's not all that different. But maybe the most important point of all to make is that, when creators insult their customers, among other divisive actions, they cannot be surprised if and when they lose sales on their books, particularly the books they created themselves. For example, Marz's Kickstarter-funded project, Demi-God, according to this video, has less than 100 investors. It wouldn't surprise me if any recent sales of Busiek's Astro City have experienced declines for the same reasons. Maybe comics are doing well, but what about creator-owned products coming from anybody who denigrates the consumers? That's what they don't consider.

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You can make a lot of money and reach a lot of people without selling a million copies of a book. None of the comics Marvel put out in its 1960s heyday of creativity ever reached the million mark or anywhere near. Only a very few extremely popular characters have ever reached that number on a steady basis. Uncle Scrooge, the Fawcett Captain Marvel, probably Superman and Batman, back in the 1940s. In book publishing, selling tens of thousands of copies is phenomenal. Sheena Queen of the Jungle boasted of its success in leading the market when they reached 500,000 copies. Bear in mind that copies sold to the public are read by more than one person; library copies, copies read and resold to a used bookstore or given away, copies shared within the family or among friends.

And since when is artistic success measured in sales and dollars? Moby Dick was a failure when it first came out.

Mad magazine at his height hit well over a million in circulation figures.

the video about Marz is a bit out of date! He has 247 investors and has more than met his investment goal, raising over $24,000.

Nope. The video is about a book called Demi-God" on Kickstarter which as of this post has 95 backers and is far less than reached its goal.



The complete series posting has only been up for a week!

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